What Are Some Common Applications of Coaching to Financial Planning?

The following are a few of the potential coaching applications that can be addressed in a financial planning setting:

Money vs. Meaning    The trade-off between money and meaning is one that has been going on for centuries. A few issues include:

  1. If you don’t have money, you need to accumulate it. If you have to accumulate it, it will usually require that you trade your time for it. What is the right amount of time away from your other fulfilling roles and how much is enough money?
  1. Saving and sacrificing to accumulate money without any purpose for the money. Just to have more money for something. Greed? Power?
  1. Out of balance lifestyle: staying in meaningless jobs for the money, yet spending the extra money to try to replace the lack of fulfillment.

Couples    Money can create power imbalances and friction. The priority to spend versus save may be different for each. The definition of “enough” may be different for each spouse. Coaches can act as facilitators to help clients make joint decisions around money.

Money History    Most of our attitudes with money are based on early childhood experiences. Working for an allowance taught us the value of money.  If your family did not have it when you were growing up, that may have made you an over-accumulator or workaholic, impacting the rest of your life and preventing you from making healthy decisions regarding money.

Retirement    Most financial planning is focused on retirement. There are a number of coaching issues around this important transition. For example:

  1. Coaching the primary breadwinner. This is often a workaholic requiring coaching about what to do at the traditional retirement age of 65. Many clients were raised to work and provide as their primary purpose and goal in life. They wake up the day after age 65 and ask now what? They have tremendous anxiety.
  1. Coaching the couple about retirement. He worked during the day. She took care of the house, family and spent time with her friends during the day. Now they are together fulltime. What do they both want to do and what are the new ground rules? New habits need to be formed. They need to revise and share their individual purposes, goals, and ideal retirement scenarios. These individual scenarios need to be reconciled. This is hard as the submissive partner in the relationship (gender is not relevant) has habitually subordinated his or her wishes and may do so in the planning stage, later resenting it. A coach/facilitator can add value by making sure the less dominant partner gets an equal say and asserts his or her ideas in the planning stages.

Inheritances    Money received from your parents as an inheritance. Sometimes this money seems to be blood money. There appears to be some guilt attached to it. It gets invested with no evidence of intent of ever spending it. This may be a coaching issue, a money history issue, and/or a psychotherapy issue. Other professionals can be brought into the process if desired.

Divorce    The non-working spouse handling her own money for the first time.  She usually requires a substantial amount of education about money and how to work with professional advisors. She may also need to be educated and supported in how to make confident financial decisions.

Spouse Death or Disability    This requires that the other spouse handle money and make his or her own decisions in a number of areas for the first time. This situation can require education and coaching for years before the spouse can make intelligent decisions with confidence.